This article is from the Food Preserving FAQ, by Eric Decker firstname.lastname@example.org with numerous contributions by others.
>From Sallie Montuori :
A while ago, somebody requested recipes for pickling beef. This weekend I
finally saw my mother long enough to winkle out of her our family recipe.
Please note that amounts are approximate at best, and I'm sure someone is
going to point out that the traditional method is an invitation to food poi-
soning in one or more ways for a variety of reasons.
Spiced Beef (Christmas tradition, made in early December)
1 small box each ground cloves and ground allspice (about 1 oz.?)
1 1/2 cups salt
3/4 cup sugar
2 tablespoons saltpeter (optional; all it really does is keep the meat pink)
4 to 10 pounds of boneless beef. My mother uses chuck because she likes the
taste; her grandmother used prime rib, boned, rolled, and tied. The
tougher cuts work fine, since it gets sliced paper-thin in the end.
In a non-reactive container (hereafter referred to as "the crock", although a
large bowl with a plate to cover works fine) large enough for all ingredients,
mix the spices, salt and sugar. Rub the saltpeter into the beef, then drop
it into the crock and rub the spice mixture into it. (You may want to use
rubber gloves to save on scrubbing your hands.) Cover and set out from under
foot; the garage works fine in the winter when this is traditionally done.
Use the fridge if you'd rather.
Every day for 7 to 14 days (depending on the size of the piece(s) of meat
you're curing), turn the meat and rub more of the spice mixture into it.
After a day or so, the mixture will be wet from the meat juices. Try not to
overcure the meat; it will get dry.
After the meat is cured, you need to cook it. Do this on a day you weren't
planning on doing anything else!
In a large, non-reactive pot, put a rack on the bottom to keep the meat from
sitting and burning. Wipe as much of the spice mixture off the meat as you
can, then put it on the rack, and add cold water to cover. Bring slowly to a
boil; reduce heat and simmer until the meat floats. This will take a couple
of hours for a small piece, longer for a larger one. Turn the heat off and
let the meat cool in the pot (again, allow a few hours). Wrap (not in alum-
inum foil) and store in the refrigerator.